Yesterday saw one of the greatest assets for Rays fans come to an end, with RaysProspects.com closing up shop after five great years. Kevin Gengler will continue to post weekly here at DRB, along with prospect podcasts, but the fine work by Gengler, Doug Milhoan, Jim Donten, and the gang will certainly be missed.
Halloween was an eventful day for the Rays, with the front office exercising options for James Shields ($10.25M), Fernando Rodney ($2.5M), and Jose Molina ($1.8M). Andrew Friedman informed TBT's Marc Topkin that the club has no need to trade either Shields or David Price, stating, "we don't feel like we have to do it." How much financial flexibility Stu Sterberg has given the Rays for 2012 was not clear.
The Rays declined Luke Scott's option for $6M, in lieu of a $1M payoff. Kevin Youkilis, Travis Hafner, Casey McGehee, Ryan Ludwick, and Mark Reynolds all found their way into free agency as well - and all six could be considered options for the Rays next year, which I briefly covered yesterday.
Other new free agents to hit the market:
The Royals declined Joakim Soria's $8M option, and Ryan Madson (whom Tommy Rancel advocates) elected free agency. Both closers are recovering from Tommy John surgery, and are likely in the market for a higher salary than the Rays would offer, but each could sign a one-year rebound deal for a chance at contending next season. Our former closer Rafael Soriano opted out of his $14M contract with New York, but Scott Boras is on the lookout for a similar price over 4 years - which is more than Papelbon made - so... no.
Additionally, replacement level catchers Chris Snyder, Henry Blanco, and Rod Barajas are now free agents, along with reliever Matt Lindstrom (47.0 IP, 45 H, 40 K) and journeyman Hisanori Takahashi (50.1 IP, 49 H, 52 K). None are likely to sign with the Rays, but I'd be interested to see what Hickey could do.
- MLB Trade Rumors put together their excellent Rays Offseason Outlook, including arbitration estimates and some speculation that Mike Napoli might like to live in Florida again. Napoli is from Florida, you say? How about a hometown discount?
- Sean Rodriguez was awarded the #5 Web Gem of the Year by ESPN's Baseball Tonight, giving due credit to his diving grab on May 6th to rob Oakland's Brandon Inge of a base hit in the 9th.
The Rays would lose the game 9-5. View a screenshot breakdown of the video at Rays Colored Glasses.
- The coaches had their say in who won the Gold Glove Awards. Now Rawlings invites you, the fan, to vote for the best fielder in each Division. It's called the Platinum Glove Awards? Just go with it.
- Dave Cameron suggests the Rays trade David Price and Tim Beckham to the Diamondbacks for Justin Upton and Trevor Bauer (Insider $). Cameron mistakes Price's remaining years of control as two instead of three (h/t Sandy), but the deal has merit. What say you?